What is the Larapinta Trail?

There is much material already written and published about the Larapinta Trail, so I’ll only summarize it here and provide links to the main site for maps and more details.

The Larapinta trail is a hiking track that spans 223km to the west of Alice Springs in the Northern Territory of Australia. The track itself spans the McDonnell ranges, a set of ridges, that wends its way into the Outback towards Mt Sonder. The Track consists of steep ridge climbs, difficult downhill descents in many places and many flat dry riverbeds to walk along. The Trail is split into 12 sections. Walking time is suggested at 17-20 days for the entire track, hiking only a portion of the track will take less time, some have been known to do the entire track in 5-10 days. The hike itself is classified as Hard to Very Hard and only for experienced hikers and the very fit. The Trail offers plentiful views of the Central Australia but also many opportunities to see native flora and fauna.

The Trail is not a truly wilderness experience, as within a short distance from most of the track is a main road and there are several tourist car parks along the way. On the trail, there are locations where food and consumables can be stored, allowing the ability to split up the hike instead of having to carry all food and consumables the entire distance. But it is still an adventure.

For more information, maps etc…

Why the Hike?

My friend wanted to do the Larapinta trail in early 2011 began planning a solo trip. I asked to join her and she was happy to have the company.

The hike is to be a great spiritual journey into the centre of the country for both of us although for vastly different reasons. For her it is to run away from society and bath herself in the beauty of nature, her true calling. For me it is to find a peace within myself by spending time in the quiet places away from the world of other people and to see other sides of Australia. While we’re doing the hike together, this is an exercise in self-sufficiency and solitude.

Also, a lot of time has been put into planning this hike and I wanted to share it with the world in general. My hope is that it will help others with their planning by showing what we planned for and what we discovered along the way.

The pages that follow are split into two broad groups: preparation and on the walk.

‘Preparation’ contains the following:

  • Individual packing lists
  • Joint packing list
  • Food lists
  • Consumables list
  • Contents of our first aid kit
  • Breakdowns of the contents of each drop box

‘On the hike’ section will include details split by day and section, detailing:

  • our experiences on each of the sections
  • comments of wildlife and landscape
  • notes about water, shelter, camping areas etc
  • distances
  • Photos.

We will likely also include post hike observations and suggestions.


  • larissa  On July 26, 2016 at 11:45 pm

    hey there! Just wondering if I could get your contact email as I have a question about your blog which I’d like to email you about. Are you able to reply with your email? Cheers 🙂

  • Cressida Thornton  On August 11, 2017 at 3:39 am

    What great information you have on here. I was wondering if you thought you could do the trail in say 13/14 days? thoughtS?

    • Keyman  On August 11, 2017 at 5:50 am

      Hey Cressida,

      The answer is yes, it should be no problems. The only difficult thing about the trail is the heat. We were often up by 4 and away in the dark just so we could finish before the hottest part of the day, and there were some days we only walked for 2 hours.

      I would suggest getting the pack from the official site with all the maps and sections and just work it so that you are combining the short days with the moderate days.

      You’ll have a blast. This was a life changing experience for me.


  • Lyn Kirkwood  On November 20, 2019 at 1:05 am

    Hi AJ,

    This is one of the most useful resources I have found on planning a Larapinta walk – thank you! Did you do it in 2011?


    • Keyman  On November 20, 2019 at 8:02 am

      Thanks Lyn, glad it was useful. Yes, September 2011. All photos taken on an iPhone 4. Seems like such a long time ago.

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